Thursday, July 13, 2017

PTA - Biltmore Textile Industries

July PTA met today with Connie Brown as our host this month. She loves to plan field trips for us and this one was in a word - wonderful. We started with a Show and Tell which was small but always inspiring. Dort is getting ready for the 12th annual Artists' Studios Tour in Leicester, NC - August 19 - 20. 
 The 2 pieces she shared have incredible detail as is typical  with Dort's work.
 Dort will also attach little found objects to her pieces giving them such "nose appeal".This one has a little teddybear, frying pan, baby doll and buttons...darling up close.
 And I love this piece with the beautiful use of red roping thread used around the edge and in the fence...To see more, and if you're in the area...stop in for the Artist's Studio Tour...
 Georgia showed us a piece almost finished...made for the Flatrock park (converted from a golf course) and still in the need of more walking trails...Georgia who is so generous with her time and talent has made this piece as part of the fundraiser for the park.
Those of you familiar with Charlie Harper's work will see a similar flavor in this wonderful piece.
 Next it was on to lunch at the Golden Fleece next to the Grovewood Gallery. It is a darling, quaint little place with excellent food. It used to be Grovewood Cafe but has since changed hands so I didn't know what to expect....I wasn't disappointed. I wish I had taken a picture of my food....a lamb burger with a greek yogurt sauce....Ooohhh...divine!
  After lunch we wandered over to the museum for a short film and extensive tour of the Biltmore Textile Industry. Along the way, we happened on some great garden art...
 some very fierce animals....
 some beautiful wind chimes...
 and a dog that had absolutely nothing to say !!!
 And into the museum which was housed in the basement so on this very hot day...this building (not air conditioned) was remarkably cool. So welcome to the North Carolina Homespun Museum that houses all the equipment used in the making of cloth in the late 19th early 20th century. The cloth was a Merino wool, fleece obtained from Australia but processed and woven into cloth right here near the Biltmore Estate. Young girls were taught the trade of making this beautiful homespun fabric.
 The first room was their version of a dye studio...where the rovings for the wool threads were dyed...
 I asked Cathy to get inside the vat to give it scale but had to settle for her standing next to it...
 These were the washing machines used to wash the rovings.
 Next they were put in a giant machine to fluff them and then "spit" out the other end into the "fluff" room. Up to this point, on the last day...every piece of equipment was left as it was when everyone left for the last time.
  These racks held all the spools to use in the weaving of cloth.
  and made for a beautiful picture.
  A finished piece of cloth...felt like linen to me.
 This was the carding machine...a huge operation. I've seen carding done by hand but this was intended for massive amounts. A carding machine will break up clumps of disorganized fibers and align them parallel to each preparing them for spinning into yarn or thread.
 This is one of the very large looms used.
 This machine was for winding the large spools of thread onto bobbins (the red on the right) to use on the looms.
and more finished fabric....I was a picture taking maniac so I'm thinking I wasn't paying as much attention as I should have to all that was said...I've been on this tour before so I was winging it more this time...but I will say, it was fabulous and educational. If you visit or live in the Asheville area...put this on your list of things to see and be sure to eat at the Golden Fleece right next door. You will love me for it! More to come...some great pics of today to use as inspiration for a future quilt.


  1. What an interesting trip! And I didn't have to leave the couch! I'm surprised Mary didn't want to stay and see if any excess roving was laying around!! HA Thanks for sharing! Very iteresting!

  2. What a cool museum! And I love that black and red bird quilt. The repeating geometric bird motif is really cool!